Prayer for Stalcup Lecture

Dr. Sharon Watkins delivered this year’s Joe A and Nancy Vaughn Stalcup lecture on Christian Unity, June 12, at East Dallas Christian Church. As usual, Sharon did a good job. She’s one of my favorite preachers. She reminded us that God’s vision of the world calls us to live now as we sense God may want to be in the future. Ecumenism is not just about getting along but there is a future-orientation that our cooperation may be going somewhere.

I was given the assignment of praying the prayer of confession and offering the assurance of pardon.

Here’s what I said.

Lord of Mercy and Compassion,

We come before you with recognition that we have not fulfilled Christ’s prayer that we would be one; our disunity and fragmentation comes at the expense of our most faithful witness. We confess to you that we have grown complacent in our efforts. We have stubbornly refused to change our patterns and move beyond our comforts even at the prompting of your Holy Spirit. We have longed for a future brighter than the past without assessing honestly the changes we need to make in the present. Remind us again that the call of prophecy is not to wait and see if prophecy comes true but to respond faithfully here and now. Lord, we so easily convince ourselves that because we have changed our attitudes we have changed our actions. We only recognize how entrenched our attitudes are sometimes when our actions are called to account. So, take our broken actions and attitudes, our apathy and stubbornness and heal and restore according to your will. Amen.

Assurance of Pardon

We remember the words of scripture that if we confess our sins God’s is faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us of all unrighteousness. God does not deal with us according to our sins but according to our potential for repentance. May we live in the grace our God provides.